« The Secrets of NIM | Main | If all our heroes are yobs ..... »

July 30, 2006

Theatre on the lawn

Over the last two nights we have enjoyed Oscar Wilde's wonderful bit of fun "The importance of being Earnest" on the lawn at Abbey House. The Vicar kindly opens his garden to those who enjoy a picnic supper and the play, several of us provide a Pimms Bar and refreshment and a group of young actors provide the play.

Over the last few years we have usually had an offering of Shakespeare, but this year the players decided to do Oscar Wilde's ascerbic comedy - and it has gone extremely well. Not least, I imagine, because of the setting against the Georgian facade of the Abbey House and sprawling across the drive and lawns. The house itself becomes a prop as the actors and actresses enter and exit the stage through its various doors, gates and across the lawn and flower beds themselves. The audience is almost a part of the play and caught up in the action itself.

What can one say of the play itself? A wonderfully tangled story of two privileged young men in Edwardian society, caught up in a web of their own boredom and deceits - the perfectly respectable Mr Worthing having invented for himself a second persona in order to manage his escapades to escape respectability - are finally found out. Lady Basingstoke, the formidable "Grand Dame" of the piece ploughs across the play like a huge battleship until eventually defeated by the determination of her own daughter and the exposure of "Mr Worthings" true origins. It is hilarious, but it is also a very barbed commentary on the society of the time.

The young actors who deleivered this piece for us deserve to be recognised and to have brilliant careers ahead - and as soon as I can find the playlist and their names, I will publicise them on this blog.

The weather on our first evening was kind, warm sunshine, gentle breeze and all the feel of an English summer evening at its best. Last night was cooler, breezier and threatening rain - the problem of having weather instead of a climate - but everyone coped brilliantly and the rain held off until it was over. The setting, the weather and the play could probably only happen in England.

One line brought the house down on both evenings, so I'll share it. Imagine the setting, Abbey House behind the players, the great Abbey Church itself next door and looming large over the garden to your right. Algernon addresses his new found beloved and says "Where is the church", facing away from it. She, without a word, merely points behind him, and he turns slowly, his eyes travel upwards as he takes in its bulk and says, "Ah!" Exit, stage right.

Posted by The Gray Monk at July 30, 2006 05:32 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Post a comment

Remember Me?